Letter: DTH column displayed ignorance on Silent Sam
TO THE EDITOR:
The Sept. 19 column “Removing all statues? Not so fast” demonstrates historical ignorance and an alarming lack of moral scrutiny.
The first half condemns Confederate soldiers for both treason and fighting for slavery, even if specific soldiers were not themselves slaveholders.
The author then claims that he does not “write this column to belittle the issue of racism, or slavery especially” yet in the subsequent paragraph asserts that “the movement toward condemning Silent Sam and similar monuments as racist statuary” is “too much of a reach.”
This claim ignores Julian Carr’s Silent Sam dedication speech, in which he recalls how he “horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds.”
To pretend Silent Sam is merely a monument to Confederate soldiers, and not a proliferation of violence against black bodies during the Jim Crow Era, is to willfully disregard the historic record.
The piece concludes by dismissing the fact that Thomas Jefferson was both a slave owner and rapist. These facts are dismissed despite documentation, notably from Benjamin Banneker, the son of ex-slaves, and contemporary abolitionists, that Jefferson was not only a slave owner and a rapist, but that he was, in fact, atypically cruel in his treatment of slaves even within his time period.
Banneker wrote of Jefferson’s “detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren under groaning captivity and cruel oppression.”
It is concerning that a campus writer would so easily deny both historic fact and the legitimate demands of student activists.